The COVID-19 Vaccine: Myth vs. Fact

Image of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine vials

As COVID-19 vaccine production and rollout has continued to increase across the world, misinformation surrounding the vaccines and their development has escalated. Here are seven common myths about getting vaccinated:


Myth: The development of the COVID-19 vaccine was rushed, so its efficacy and safety cannot be trusted.

Fact: The clinical trials completed to test the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines followed all the standard processes, including the creation of a placebo group, independent bodies that monitored the data, and independent bodies that monitored the safety. Reasons for which the COVID-19 vaccines were developed so quickly include the many resources available to researchers, given the fact that the pandemic was a global emergency; the use of a method that has been in development for years; and prompt sharing of genetic information from China.


Myth: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine gives you the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: The vaccine for COVID-19 can not give you COVID-19. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the virus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus more quickly and effectively. However, the vaccines do not contain the virus itself nor instructions to produce the entire virus.


Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine enters your cells and alters your DNA.

Fact: The messenger RNA from the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines does enter your cells, but it does not enter the nucleus of the cells where DNA resides. The mRNA instructs the cell to make protein in the cytoplasm before quickly breaking down, never entering the nucleus nor affecting or interacting with your DNA in any way.


Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine contains controversial substances.

Fact: The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines contain mRNA as well as normal vaccine ingredients, including fats (which protect the mRNA), salts, as well as a small amount of sugar. They do not contain any material such as implants, microchips or tracking devices.


Myth: The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are dangerous.

Fact: The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can have short term side effects, but these are not serious or dangerous. In fact, symptoms such as body aches, headaches, or fever are simply signs that the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune system. On the rare occasion that symptoms persist beyond two days, you should call your doctor.


Myth: I’ve already had COVID-19, so I don’t need a vaccine.

Fact: People who have been infected with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. The protection gained from previous infection with COVID-19 varies from person to person, and there is currently not enough information on how long this natural immunity might last.


Myth: I'm young and healthy, so I don't need to get vaccinated.

Fact: It is critical for young, healthy adults to get vaccinated. The B.1.1.7 variant is heavily impacting young people, with more young people getting hospitalized as this more infectious strain becomes dominant. Additionally, young adults can get long-term complications, including chronic fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath and brain fog months after infection. Young adults are also easy transmitters of COVID-19, and can inadvertently infect more vulnerable populations.